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DATE News (chronologically)
02/06/08
nascar

Hamilton Jr. reunites with ex-owner
Earl Sadler in 1998 gave Bobby Hamilton Jr. his first opportunity to drive a Nationwide car. Ten years later Hamilton has joined Sadler's racing team again — as a co-owner.

Hamilton said he has purchased 50 percent of the team, which will now be Sadler Hamilton Racing. The team plans on running a limited schedule of Nationwide, ARCA and Camping World races. "It's a pretty good deal," Hamilton said. "Everything is just sort of falling into place. "Earl Sadler gave me pretty much my first real ride. Things kind of go in circles."

Hamilton became part owner on Jan. 7, 2008 — the one-year anniversary of his father Bobby Hamilton's death. Earl Sadler is celebrating his 25th year of having a race team this season. In recent years, the team has been a hobby for him, running a partial schedule. Tennessean.com

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02/06/08
cc

Champ Car series bucks the odds
Paul Tracy
Paul Tracy smiled as he looked up and down the surprisingly busy pit road during last week's Champ Car World Series preseason test at Sebring International Raceway.

"Looks pretty good, doesn't it?" the series' elder statesman said. "We're already ahead of where we were last year."

Fourteen car-and-driver combinations were on hand for the first test of the season and optimism filled the hot, heavy Florida air.

Against all odds, Champ Car is getting ready for another far-flung season as an American-based series visiting Canada, Mexico, Europe and Australia.

Sponsorship dollars remain in short supply, the series owners continue to cut the budget for TV and marketing, and none of the drivers — except perhaps the 39-year-old Tracy, causes a stir in America's national consciousness.

Almost anyone with knowledge of the situation will quickly volunteer the belief that the only way to save Champ Car would be for the circuit formally known as CART to merge with or sell out to its open-wheel rival, the Indy Racing League and its IndyCar Series.

Numerous negotiations between the two entities over the years have all broken down, mostly over who would control the merged series.

IndyCar has its own troubles — particularly losing stars such as Dario Franchitti and Sam Hornish Jr. to NASCAR. But it also has the popular Indianapolis 500 as part of its schedule — a fact not lost on sponsors and drivers.

But don't tell Champ Car president Steve Johnson it's time for the series to fade away quietly.

"We're sitting in a better position now than we were a year ago," Johnson said during the Sebring test. "Overall, I'm optimistic with the future.

"Last year here we might have had eight or 10 cars and not a (sponsor) decal on any of them," Johnson added. "This year, we have cars and more sponsors and there are a lot of good things happening that I can't talk about yet."  More from AP article

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02/06/08
cca

Atlantic Racer Dane Cameron Wins Awards
Dane Cameron
Rising open-wheel racing racer Dane Cameron has picked up a pair of prestigious awards to add to his already crowded trophy case.  The Sonoma, California native, who won the 2007 Star Mazda Championship and will race in the 2008 Champ Car Atlantic Championship courtesy of a full-season sponsorship from the MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development Ladder, has been awarded both the 15th annual Gorsline Scholarship and selected as the 45th annual Open Wheel Road Racer of the Year by the Motor Sport Press Association.

The Gorsline Human Performance Institute Scholarship is presented at the annual AARWBA Auto Racing All America Banquet by The Gorsline Company, which specializes in providing insurance and financial planning for high-risk professionals such as racing drivers. The award was created to improve the sport by promoting talented, rising young stars by supporting them in their quest to reach their driving pinnacle. The award recognizes and rewards performance and potential.  Previous winners of the Gorsline Scholarship include Indy 500 winner Buddy Rice, Danica Patrick, Katherine Legge, Colin Braun, Patrick Long, Bryan Herta and Butch Leitzinger.

As part of the Gorsline Scholarship, Cameron will be working with Dr. Jacques Dallaire, Cofounder of the Human Performance Institute, with an individually designed Performance Enhancement Program. Dallaire, Director of Performance Prime, has personally worked with more than 600 drivers in 35 countries from all forms of motorsports.

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02/06/08
cca

Forsythe Racing sweeps Sebring test
Despite an abbreviated final day of Cooper Tires Presents The Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda testing at Sebring International Raceway for their team, teammates James Hinchcliffe (#3 Forsythe Championship Racing) and David Garza (#7 Forsythe Championship Racing) found themselves standing atop the time charts at the end of the two-day test session.

For the second consecutive day on the 1.669-mile circuit in Central Florida, Hinchcliffe led the field with a best lap at 57.366 sec. (104.738 mph). The Canadian turned his quick lap within the first hour of the test session and posted several more laps in the 57-second range before running off course at Turn 3 and making contact with the barrier. Hinchcliffe escaped injury but his day came to a premature end.

“It was an interesting day for us,” Hinchcliffe said. “It’s great to end up on top again. We were able to improve our time from yesterday where a few other guys weren’t, so I think we managed to make a good car even better. There are three things you set out to achieve on any test day. The first one is go fast, the second one is to get through your test plan and the third one is to bring the car home in one piece. We did two out of three, because on our first run this morning, we did some quick times and set that fast lap and then had a bit of an incident that sent me into the wall. It was my mistake. It damaged the car a bit, but we could have gotten the car back going if we wanted to, but the weather started to change a bit and we didn’t have many miles left in the motor anyway, so we figured it was probably safe to just pack it up.

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02/06/08
alms

Rahal Letterman to run BMW in ALMS
One of the more successful teams in the last 15 years of open-wheel racing announced today that it will partner with one of the most storied manufacturers in the automotive world as Rahal Letterman Racing will field a pair of BMW entries in the German company’s return to American Le Mans Series racing.

The Hilliard, Ohio-based team will play a large role in BMW’s return to ALMS competition, where the manufacturer earned 15 wins between 1999 and 2001, including a run of six consecutive victories in 2001 that was capped by a Petit Le Mans title.

Today’s announcement, which came in conjunction with the unveiling of the new BMW M3 race car at the Chicago Auto Show, will see Rahal Letterman Racing campaign a full-time, two-car effort beginning in 2009.

“This is a very important day for the future of Rahal Letterman Racing and we are eagerly anticipating playing a lead role in returning BMW to the sharp end of the ALMS grid,” said team co-owner Bobby Rahal. “In my years, not only in motorsports but also as a BMW dealer, I have always been impressed by the professionalism and efficiency of the BMW organization and we at RLR are proud to be a part of it.”

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02/06/08
nascar

DEI names sponsor for Truex in 1st Nationwide race
Dale Earnhardt Inc. officials announced Wednesday that Freightliner Trucks will primary sponsor Martin Truex Jr. in the Camping World 300 Nationwide Series race at Daytona International Speedway.  Truex, a two-time series champion, will drive the No. 8 Chevrolet in the race, with his Sprint Cup crew chief, Kevin "Bono" Manion, serving as his crew chief.

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02/06/08
cc

Conquest Racing Driver Announcement Teleconference Transcript
THE MODERATOR:  Hello, everybody and sorry for the delay.  We were trying to connect with Montpellier, where our guest, Franck Perera, is joining us.  We also have Eric Bachelart in Florida, who is a bit tight on time, so we'll move fairly quickly. 

Eric is, of course, between sessions testing with his Atlantics team, joins (us) in this exciting announcement today in that they have signed Franck Perera, who was last year's Rookie of the Year in the Atlantics Championship, and more recently posted the fastest time among all drivers during the recent Champ Car World Series testing at Sebring.  He will be joining their team for the 2008 season. 

Just to be very clear, Franck did not receive the $2 million scholarship for the 2008 season that's annually provided to the team that employs the Atlantics champion from the previous season.  He has earned his ride with Conquest on merit and is not bringing the $2 million enhancement bonus with him. 

So without further adieu, I want to ask Eric a question.  Clearly you're excited after this past weekend and Franck's performance down there.  Obviously your sponsors and your new partner and you are approaching the 2008 season with much more of a results oriented program.  Can you discuss that a little bit? 

ERIC BACHELART:  Yes, first of all, hello everybody, and bonjour tout le monde.  I understand that we have some French media on the call, as well. 

Obviously this year will be very focused on performance, and yes, we've been very fortunate to get some new sponsors behind us with Opes Prime and ARES, and thanks to them we will run two cars this season.  It's crucial to have a two car team to be competitive.

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02/06/08
irl

LifeLock to sponsor Indy 500 team
LifeLock® CEO Todd Davis and Rubicon Race Team owners Jason Priestley and Jim Freudenberg announced today that LifeLock would be the primary sponsor for their first entry in the 92nd running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 25, 2008.  The car will be formally entered in March for the world’s largest one day sporting event as the Rubicon Race Team/LifeLock entry.

LifeLock, the recognized leader in the identity theft prevention industry, helps consumers fight the problems associated with identity theft by enabling and by setting and automatically renewing fraud alerts with the major credit bureaus and removing members’ names from junk mail lists. The service is backed by the most complete $1 million service guarantee available.  Recently, LifeLock added an additional service to all members –free of charge – called WalletLock™.  WalletLock works to cancel and replace all documents and personal identifying information inside a wallet if it is lost or stolen.

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02/06/08
irl

Danka Renews and Extends Partnership with St. Pete race
Danka Business Systems PLC (OTCBB: DANKY) has renewed and extended its partnership with the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, officials from both organizations announced today.

In an expanded partnership that includes both the 2008 and 2009 Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg events, Danka will be the official business machine provider of the event.  The St. Petersburg-based company will also have branding rights for both the Danka Media Center and the Danka Credential Center at the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.  Danka first teamed-up with the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in 2007.

"We are delighted to broaden our role with The Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg,” said A.D. Frazier, chairman and chief executive officer of Danka.  “This event has become an important part of the texture of our community, as well as a premier IndyCar series event.  We are proud of our Company’s hometown, and pleased to help showcase the vibrancy and spirit of the St. Petersburg region for our customers, business partners and employees from around the country.” 

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02/06/08
cc

Conquest Racing announces Franck Perera
Franck Perera
Eric Bachelart, owner of the Conquest Racing Champ Car team, announced today that he would run two cars in 2008 and that rookie Franck Perera from France would be one of the drivers.  He also announced Eric Zeto from Forsythe Racing was a new engineer they have brought onboard.  Bachelart has taken on a new partner Anthony Blumberg who he said has a real will to win. 

Press Release

Conquest Racing announced today that 2007 Atlantics ‘Rookie of the Year’ Franck Perera, who posted the fastest time among all drivers during the recent Champ Car World Series testing in Sebring, would join the team for the upcoming 2008 season.

Perera completed his first test with Conquest two days ago, where he topped the time charts, outpacing both established Champ Car drivers and other newcomers to the open-wheel series.

“I think Franck will continue to surprise many people this year,” said Eric Bachelart, Conquest Racing team owner. “He was without a doubt the best driver in Atlantics last season, and I think he is a great addition to our team. We knew before the test in Sebring that we were signing Franck for the year, now everyone knows why we are so excited to secure him for 2008. The chemistry with Franck is excellent and he is an experienced professional – a pleasure to work with. Our focus is to take this team to the next level and Franck will help us achieve that goal.”

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02/06/08
motogp

Sepang Day 2: Rossi still on top
Fiat Yamaha Team rider Valentino Rossi continued his impressive form on the second day of testing in Sepang today, topping the time sheets again with another very quick lap on qualifying tires. The Italian, who turns 29 in ten days time, was also fast throughout the day on race tires, lapping consistently in the 2’01s.

Valentino Rossi
“Today was another very good day and I had a good pace and rhythm all day. We tested some different Bridgestone tires before again trying the one I prefer, which confirmed that this is the best one for us and so we will use it for the long run tomorrow. We worked a little bit on the suspension and also on the electronic mapping and we also tried a lot of practice starts, maybe as many as ten, and we need to improve a bit in this area. I also tried a new cowling which is aimed at improving the cooling system and this had a good result. Finally I tried a qualifying tire again and, although I made a small mistake on my lap because I was quite tired by then, it was again very positive.”

Pos

Rider Team Time
1 Valentino Rossi Fiat Yamaha 2:00.472
2 Nicky Hayden Repsol Honda 2:00.900
3 Shinya Nakano Honda Gresini 2:02:049
4 Jorge Lorenzo Fiat Yamaha 2:02:396
5 Alex De Angelis Honda Gresini 2:02.646

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02/06/08
tv news

Super Bowl breaks US TV sport record
The US Super Bowl attracted over 97.5 million viewers on Sunday, making it the second most watched television program in American broadcasting history behind the final MASH episode that pulled in slightly over 100 million viewers.

The game was aired on the Fox network between around 6.30pm and 10.10pm Eastern time and audiences are believed to have peaked at around 107 million. Fox's post-game show drew 69 million viewers.

The previous viewing record for the Super Bowl was set in 1996 when 94.1 million viewers tuned in to watch the match on NBC. Last year 93.2 million people watched the games on CBS, making it the third highest Super Bowl audience of all time.

The match is estimated to have brought in $250 million in revenues for Fox and certainly dwarfs NASCAR's biggest race, the Daytona 500.

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02/06/08
f1

New BMW-Sauber improving says Kubica
(GMM)  Polish grand prix driver Robert Kubica says BMW-Sauber is getting to the bottom of the early handling problems experienced with the team's new car for 2008.

The 23-year-old's veteran German teammate, Nick Heidfeld, revealed recently that despite hopes that the F1.08 could net BMW's maiden victory this year, the car had a tough birth on the winter test tracks.

Kubica acknowledges Heidfeld's concerns but says the Swiss based team has made progress since then.

"We have sorted out some of the problems and made very promising progress," he told F1's official website.

"We introduced some new mechanical parts and also worked on the aerodynamics, which clearly improved the car.  In Poland we say that 'it's not important how you start, it's important how you finish', so I really am convinced we are doing a good job," Kubica added.

He also insists that it is difficult to analyze formula one teams' relative performances on the basis of pre-season test lap times.

"At this stage ... we are not looking at the other teams too much," Kubica said.

"It's quite normal that everybody only shows their full potential at the start of the season in Australia," he added.

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02/06/08
nascar

Mike Harmon Plans Full Nationwide Effort
Mike Harmon Racing has partnered with Elite 2 Sports and Entertainment to form Elite 2 Racing and plans to run the entire 2008 Nationwide Series schedule. Elite 2 Sports and Entertainment is a Florida-based company with clients in both the sports and entertainment industry. Harmon will be driving the #84 D.A.B. Constructors, Inc. Chevy in the Camping World 300. Elite 2 Racing will also partner with Mike Bartlett of Mooresville, North Carolina for the 2008 season-opening event. Harmon/Elite 2 PR

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02/06/08
nascar

Old Spice Sponsoring Stewart in 7 Races
Tony Stewart

Old Spice will give Tony Stewart seven chances to visit victory lane in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, as the iconic red and white colors of Old Spice will adorn Stewart’s signature #20 Joe Gibbs Racing machine.

The #20 Old Spice Toyota will debut March 1 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and compete again April 5 at Texas, April 26 at Talladega, May 9 at Darlington, June 28 at New Hampshire, July 11 at Chicagoland, and Aug. 16 at Michigan. Joe Gibbs Racing PR

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02/06/08
tv news

TSN to show all Cup, IRL and F1  races in 2008
TSN in Canada announced its 2008 auto racing broadcast schedule - the network's largest ever with a total of 121 races (up from 105 races in 2007) from five different series. TSN's comprehensive schedule features full-season coverage of the Sprint Cup Series, the Nationwide Series, the Canadian Tire Series, Formula One and Indy Racing League (IRL). TSN's broadcast schedule features all 39 Sprint Cup races, all 35 Nationwide Series races and the entire 13-race NASCAR Canadian Tire Series. TSN will also have complete coverage of all 18 Formula One races and all 16 IRL races. TSN's live coverage of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series gets underway on February 9 with the first race of the season - the Budweiser Shootout. See complete broadcast schedule at TSN.ca

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02/06/08
nascar

Harvick: Open-wheel drivers will struggle
Defending Daytona 500 champion Kevin Harvick questioned whether the successful open-wheel drivers switching to NASCAR this year will be able to make a smooth transition.

"Coming straight into the Cup Series is going to be harder than any of them would have imagined," Harvick said Tuesday at a luncheon in anticipation of the 50th running of Daytona on Feb. 17.

He believes they'd be better-served by gaining experience in the Nationwide or Craftsman Truck Series before moving up to NASCAR's top level.

"I think they all went down the wrong road," Harvick said.

Former Indianapolis 500 winners Dario Franchitti, Sam Hornish Jr. and Jacques Villeneuve are making the change this year. Longtime open-wheel driver Patrick Carpentier is also switching. Another Indy 500 champion, Juan Pablo Montoya, did it last year.

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02/06/08
automotive

GM sweetens truck rebates
General Motors Corp. is offering cash incentives of as much as $6,500 on 2007 and 2008 large pickups this month to clear slower-selling older models from dealer lots.

The rebates are a combination of existing offers and dealer and cash inducements for some versions of the GMC Sierra and Chevrolet Silverado and Avalanche pickups, GM dealers said. Combined sales of the three fell 6.1 percent last month, according to Autodata Corp.

The Detroit-based automaker is using the program even as it tries to trim total spending on incentives to help raise resale values and boost average profit per vehicle. GM lowered average incentive spending per vehicle in January by 2.5 percent from December, according to Edmunds.com.

Through Feb. 13, GM is offering to take $2,000 off pickups made on or before Sept. 1, in addition to existing rebates of up to $3,500, for the largest diesel versions of the trucks, GM spokesman John McDonald said. The latest program started Feb. 1.

McDonald said the pickups produced on or before Sept. 1, known as "overage," represent a "small portion" of GM's inventory. He didn't provide details.

Industrywide sales of large pickups fell 6.6 percent in January, according to Autodata. Detroit News

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02/06/08
f1

Hamilton to test despite abuse
Lewis Hamilton
Despite the abuse that was hurled at him during the recent testing session at the Barcelona circuit in Spain, McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton will not boycott the Spanish tracks ahead of the 2008 season.

Another Spanish test is on the agenda for the Woking based squad, next week at Jerez, and with tougher measures being assured by all Spanish venues, albeit no added security, the young Brit is not concerned about continuing his pre season program.

However, he did admit that he was somewhat saddened by the way the handful of ‘fans’ behaved last weekend….

"The truth is that I feel somewhat sad, I am in love with this country, and especially the city of Barcelona and this circuit, which is one of my three favorites," he said in the Telegraph. "The people in Spain have always been very warm with me, and even though I imagined what might happen it has not been pleasant. But maybe these types of things make you learn to appreciate more the warmth of the public, who although you always try to be there for them, you never know how important they are to you until these types of things happen."

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02/06/08
track news

NJ Motorsports Park Unveils Plans For F1 Karting Center
Thunderbolt Raceway in New Jersey
Millville, N.J. and Boston, Mass.– New Jersey Motorsports Park recently released details on one of the most exciting venues under construction at the Millville racing center, announcing a partnership with RJ Valentine and his F1 Boston group to create F1 New Jersey, a high performance karting center.  Valentine, who is a principle investor and partner in the NJMP complex, brings an experienced, highly successful team of kart industry veterans to the facility.

F1 New Jersey will feature multiple track configurations to provide different challenges to experienced racers and beginners alike, including the .48-mile Avenger, .53-mile Liberator and 1 mile-plus Tempest course.  Each configuration requires a different approach and varying speeds, and will accommodate everything from 9-hp Rimo concession karts for beginners and corporate events to 50-hp, 130 mph shifter karts for advanced competitors. 

Valentine currently operates two Boston-area karting venues – F1 Boston and F1 Outdoors – catering to corporate clients as well as kart enthusiasts, league racers and racing academy competitors.  A third track, F1 Long Island, is currently under development.  F1 Boston is a 106,000 square foot facility, featuring two indoor European-style kart tracks that entertain more than 450,000 people each year and has graduated more than 5,000 youngsters through its racing academy.  Sister property F1 Outdoors’ 1.5-miles track features hairpin turns, banked turns and straight-aways that permit racers to reach maximum performance, all in a beautifully landscaped “Country Club” setting.

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02/06/08
f1

Latest F1 news in brief
  • Hopes still slim for British GP - Ecclestone
  • Kimi 'in another galaxy' in Bahrain
  • Hamilton racism continues in Spain
  • Hamilton abuse was unprovoked - Haug
  • Renault testing at Menorca with di Grassi
  • Ralf S. testing Merc DTM car again

Hopes still slim for British GP - Ecclestone
(GMM)  Bernie Ecclestone has taken the wind out of reports that the future of the British grand prix this week took a turn for the better.

It emerged on Tuesday that South Northamptonshire council's cabinet committee has adopted the British Racing Drivers' Club's plans to significantly improve the facilities at Silverstone.

Planning application for a new pit and paddock complex is the next step, scheduled for spring 2008.

But according to Ecclestone, F1's chief executive, even if satisfactory improvements are made to the circuit, there is no guarantee of a formula one race at Silverstone beyond 2009.

"The next problem is the commercial agreement for us (formula one) to be there," the 77-year-old told the Daily Telegraph newspaper.

"This has not been discussed other than (with) the (BRDC) guy who came to see me some time ago saying 'there is no way we could pay you even what we have paid you in the past'," Bernie said.

Ecclestone insists that the British grand prix will need to "pay the market rate" to continue hosting the sport in the future.

"There is no sentiment in this from my point of view," the Briton explained.  "I want only what we do in any other country; no more, no less.

"I sincerely hope they are in a position to deliver what they know they have to carry out to get the grand prix in 2010," Ecclestone added.

Kimi 'in another galaxy' in Bahrain
(GMM)  Kimi Raikkonen continued to set a blistering pace on Tuesday as formula one testing continued in Bahrain.

After on Monday beating the pole position time set at the Sakhir circuit last April, the Finn and reigning world champion on Tuesday went nearly two more seconds quicker for an unofficial circuit record at the wheel of Ferrari's new F2008 during a qualifying run.

"Raikkonen is in another galaxy", the Spanish sports newspaper Marca observed.

"Kimi's (race weekend) simulation was good," Ferrari spokesman Luca Colajanni told the local Gulf Daily News.

"We didn't experience any problems, and he was able to get a better time than yesterday," the Italian added.

In stark contrast, both Toyotas were struck with gearbox problems, and Jarno Trulli was nearly three seconds off Raikkonen's leading pace.

"I think that we are still far from where we want it to be for the first race," the Italian, referring to Toyota's TF108 single seater, admitted.

La Gazzetta dello Sport surmised: "Toyota in crisis: the car is slow and breaks down".

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02/06/08
nascar

Las Vegas to Offer Promotion with Dale Jr.
Las Vegas Motor Speedway will announce one of the most unique promotions in motorsports history on Thursday. The announcement will involve Dale Earnhardt Jr. Dale Jr. will be available to comment on this announcement during Media Day at Daytona on Thursday. LVMS PR

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02/06/08
cc

Rocketsports hires Coulthard engineer
Looking to move up the grid in 2008, Rocketsports has hired Mark Hutchinson, ex-engineer for David Coulthard, to engineer the Rocketsports Champ Car this year with Enrique Bernoldi at the wheel.

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02/06/08
cca

Hinchcliffe tops opening day testing at Sebring
The first day of open testing for the 2008 Cooper Tires Presents The Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda at Sebring International Raceway featured a time sheet that was topped by three drivers representing the three countries which will host Champ Car Atlantic races this year.

Leading the way was Canadian James Hinchcliffe (#3 Forsythe Championship Racing) who turned a best lap at 57.449 seconds (104.587 mph) in his return to the Forsythe Atlantic operation after a one-year absence. Second-quickest was American driver Jonathan Bomarito (#6 Sierra Sierra Enterprises), who posted a lap at 57.542 seconds (104.418 mph) in his first official test session with the team that won the 2007 series title. Hinchcliffe’s new Forsythe Championship Racing teammate, Mexican driver David Garza (#7 Forsythe Championship Racing), was third on the day at 57.860 seconds (103.844 mph).

Entering his third year of Atlantic competition in 2008, Hinchcliffe is focused on challenging for the series championship. The Canadian racer got that effort off on the right foot in the first official day of on-track activity for Atlantic.

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02/05/08
cc

Rocketsports and Bernoldi gain from Sebring test
Enrique Bernoldi in the Rocketsports Panoz at Sebring
Rocketsports Racing and newly-signed Champ Car World Series driver Enrique Bernoldi hit the Sebring International Raceway over the weekend, February 2-4, for the first Champ Car open-test in 2008. The team was excited to get their first test underway after hiring two key additions to the engineering staff and announcing a new partnership with Bernoldi and Sangari.

The efforts of this test focused primarily on getting Bernoldi familiar with a Champ Car and to find a setup on the #8 Sangari/Rocketsports Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone that would suit his driving style and needs. This was also a good time for not only him, but newly hired Mark Hutcheson, to get acquainted with the Rocketsports crew and engineers. Hutcheson, the team’s newest addition, brings a wealth of experience to his new role as Race Engineer for Bernoldi and the #8 Sangari/Rocketsports car. Hutcheson was David Coulthard’s Race Engineer in 2006 with the Formula One Red Bull Racing team. He and Ryan McCarthy join John Gentilozzi and Randy Gibson in hopes of producing a dynamic engineering staff this season.

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02/05/08
cc

PCM Off to a Solid Start
Pacific Coast Motorsports wrapped their first test of 2008 yesterday in preparation for their sophomore season in The Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series.

The team completed two and a half days on the popular 1.7-mile test track, which features two-straights and eight turns including a hairpin.  Returning for his second season of Champ Car competition, Alex Figge completed 247 trouble-free laps in his #29 Champ Car, while David Martinez of Monterrey, Mexico completed 255 laps throughout the test in the #28 PCM Champ Car. 

Martinez is evaluating his options for his first full-season of Champ Car competition; Team Manager Michael Harvey was impressed by his performance in his first test with PCM, “David did a great job throughout the test here at Sebring.”  Harvey continued, “We knew he is quick based on his previous performances in the Champ Car, but we were also very impressed by his feedback, his ability to develop the car and his teamwork.” 

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02/05/08
alms

SPEEDTV.com and ALMS form partnership
When SPEEDtv.com re-launches its revolutionary motorsports website Wednesday, it also will mark the launch of one of the most innovative new media partnerships in sports. 

The American Le Mans Series (www.americanlemans.com) and SPEEDtv.com have entered into a website partnership that will allow each site to share editorial, audio and video content on a daily basis. SPEEDtv.com has chosen the American Le Mans Series as its prototype for sharing services primarily because of its open technical approach which exists not only on the race track but also transcends to its media and business operations as well.

“When SPEEDtv.com approached us,” said Tim Mayer, Chief Operating Officer for both the American Le Mans Series and IMSA, “we realized this would be a great opportunity to enhance many features on our site that our users were wanting and at the same time, work with a partner whom we believe had become the authority within the motorsports industry.  We certainly feel that the new SPEEDtv.com site captures the aspirational automotive lifestyle for which our series and manufacturers have become renowned.”

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02/05/08
cc

PKV Racing has productive test at Sebring
Alex Tagliani talks to Nelson Philippe
PKV Racing was both productive and fast during the three day test, February 2-4, at Sebring International Raceway.

After five sessions, two on both Saturday, February 2 and Sunday, February 3 and one Monday, February 4, Alex Tagliani, who was testing with the team for the first time, was third on the combined practice report, while Oriol Servia, who is signed to campaign one of two PKV Racing entries during the 2008 Champ Car World Series season, was fourth.

Tagliani ran a total of 281 laps (466.46 miles), the second most of the 14 drivers participating in the test.  He posted a fast time of 50.173 seconds (119.754 mph) on the 1.66-mile Sebring “short course”.  The 35-year-old native of Montreal, Quebec, Canada, who is entering his ninth Champ Car season, was consistently quick placing in the top-four in three of the five sessions and was never lower than seventh on the combined report.  His fast lap, as with all but one driver, came in the fifth and final session.

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02/05/08
ips

Seven drivers pass Indy Pro Series rookie test
NASCAR veteran Brent Sherman and Andretti Green Racing addition Raphael Matos were among seven drivers who successfully completed Indy Pro Series rookie oval testing at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Jan. 30.

James Davison, Cyndie Allemann, Mark Olson, Jake Slotten and Dan Brode also passed tests on the 1.5-mile oval under the supervision of Indy Pro Series technical director Butch Meyer.

"I was really impressed with the Indy Pro Series car," said Sherman, who tested a car prepared by Panther Racing. "I'm amazed by how much downforce the Indy Pro Series car has. I knew that you go flat out in these cars, so I was ready to build up to that, and the G-forces are so much stronger than what I was used to from driving stock cars."

Comment
02/05/08
ips

Antinucci named as third Sam Schmidt Motorsports driver
Sam Schmidt Motorsports has signed two-time Indy Pro Series race winner Richard Antinucci to drive for the team in the Indy Pro Series alongside rookies James Davison and Ana Beatriz.

"This is the kind of opportunity I've been waiting for," Antinucci said. "I'm very excited about learning oval racing as well. I think Sam and his team run a top-notch outfit."

Driving for his uncle, 1998 Indianapolis 500 winner Eddie Cheever, last season, Antinucci made nine starts in the Indy Pro Series, all at non-oval venues. Antinucci placed in the top five in his last four races, including two wins and a second-place finish.

"Richard was someone we always kept an eye on at the road courses last year when he drove for his uncle, and we're really confident in his potential for a great year in 2008," said team owner Sam Schmidt. "We're excited to see what he can do in one of our cars this season."

Read more & Comment...
02/05/08
irl

IndyCar Series and eBay launch sweepstakes
The IndyCar Series and the Indianapolis 500 will be featured as part of online powerhouse eBay's new "And the Winner is. You" promotion that launched Feb. 4.

The sweepstakes promotion will give eBay shoppers the chance to win a VIP trip for four to attend the 92nd Indianapolis 500 Mile Race in May.

Running from Feb. 4-29, eBay, along with the IndyCar Series and the Grammy Foundation, celebrates "Awards Season" by giving consumers a chance to nominate themselves to win one of three unique Grand Prize Awards. The grand prizes - "The Need for Speed Award," the "Most Victorious Shopper Award," and the "Party Like A Rock Star Award" have all been created to highlight winning moments in sports, entertainment and shopping on eBay.

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02/05/08
irl

Side intrusion panels to be added to all IndyCar chassis
In an effort to further enhance the safety features of its cars, the Indy Racing League will mandate new side intrusion panels on every IndyCar Series and Indy Pro Series chassis in 2008.

The new panels are similar to those being installed by Formula One, however the panels used by the Indy Racing League will provide almost twice the surface area coverage by extending the panels from the dash bulkhead all the way to the pedal bulkhead.

The panels, which are 7 mm thick, are comprised of 15 layers of Zylon and extend from the pedal bulkhead to the back of the seat on the inside of the cockpit. Zylon is the same high-tensile material used on the Suspension Wheel/Wing Energy Management System introduced by the Indy Racing League in 1999.

IndyCar Series teams received the first shipment of side intrusion panels in mid-December. The two-day installation process requires the panels to be bonded to the chassis using a league-specified adhesive.

"Safety continues to be our highest priority," said Brian Barnhart, president of competition and operations for the Indy Racing League. "We continually look for the latest innovations to improve what is already a very safe racing environment. The side intrusion panels are another level of protection for our drivers."

Read more & Comment...
02/05/08
cc

Tagliani happy to race for PKV
Alexandre Tagliani has reached nirvana. These two and a half days of testing in Sebring with PKV have been a blast. So much so that he does not see himself racing anywhere else. Tagliani posted the 3rd best time of the open test on Monday morning. In front of Oriol Servia and Justin Wilson (Newman/Haas/Lanigan).

Contacted by Radio-Canada Sports Monday, the Quebec driver was still on cloud 9. "I have just tested for a top team'', explained Tagliani. ''Either, I drive for PKV, or I do not drive in Champ Car from now on. After having lived two days and half like that, you cannot... just the professionalism of everyone, they want to gain so much. They appreciated my technical side, the information I gave them was good, we worked on the car and improved it. The mechanics are top notch and the team work is very good. They kept telling me they were having some small problems, that they weren't happy with this or that. I just said wow!"  Radio-Canada.ca

Comment
02/05/08
automotive

Cosworth wins major Rolls Royce contract
Cosworth has been awarded a major contract by Rolls-Royce to supply components for the Deltic engine used by the Royal Navy. The contract includes engineering services and manufacture of engine components at Cosworth’s world class facility in Northampton, UK.

“When we first started the discussion with Rolls-Royce, it was made very clear they required a supplier with facilities to provide complete technical support from material science to engine component design and testing, and the capability to manufacture complex components in relatively small batch sizes. Cosworth demonstrated the ability to meet Rolls-Royce’s requirements”, said Jog Lall, Sales and Marketing Director, Cosworth Ltd.

Engineering work will commence immediately and the first set of components is planned for delivery in quarter three 2008.

Tim Routsis, CEO of the Cosworth Group commented, “We are now in our third year of business diversification and, once again, have shown that Cosworth’s design, development, testing, manufacturing and support services are sought after in many adjacent market sectors. I’m pleased to say our Aerospace and Defence business unit has now secured its third major contract”.

Jim Vickerman, Managing Director of Rolls-Royce Distributed Generation Systems, said: “This equipment has to operate in harsh environments where reliability and high performance is paramount. We really value the very important contribution our supply chain makes to us being able to successfully support the Royal Navy”.

Comment
02/05/08
nascar

Fernandez to drive JR Motorsports entry in Mexico
Hendrick Motorsports officials announced Tuesday that Adrian Fernandez will drive JR Motorsports' No. 5 Chevrolet in the Nationwide Series race at Mexico City on April 20.

Fernandez, a Mexico City native, has driven for Hendrick in all three races in Mexico City, posting two top-10s. Hendrick entered into a partnership with JR Motorsports this season.

Sponsorship for Fernandez comes from Lowe's.

"I am honored by this opportunity to represent Lowe's, Hendrick Motorsports and NASCAR," said Fernandez, who tested the Nationwide car on Nov. 20 at Sebring International Raceway. "I know race fans in Mexico grow more excited about this race each year. I think this race will continue to grow and prove how popular NASCAR is becoming outside of America."

Comment
02/05/08
nhra

NHRA and Ford's Blue Box safety program
Ford Racing Blue Box
Last season, Ford Racing Technology began working together on an NHRA safety initiative in wake of the Eric Medlen tragedy. A large part of that initiative was the Ford Blue Box safety program, the data collection box that has been mandated by NHRA to be on all Top Fuel and Funny Cars for 2008. Two weeks ago at the Charlotte media tour, Dan Davis, director of Ford Racing Technology, talked about the safety initiative and where it stands heading into this weekend’s NHRA POWERade season opener at Pomona.

DAN DAVIS – Director, Ford Racing Technology -- “We went to work with John Force to make the sport safer and we went to work hard – very, very hard, right away – which I thought was good. John was absolutely dedicated to it as were we, so it was great to have a partner that was so dedicated. We made some changes to the car and did some things that made the car safer. I honestly believe that those changes saved John’s life (in his Dallas crash), so, to me, the fact that we did have a fatality was horrible. Those were hard days for us, but Eric Medlen motivated us to do something that I honestly think saved NHRA. To me, John Force is just about NHRA, and I think without the things that we collectively did with him, we would have lost John. Thank God we didn’t and we’re continuing to push even harder and quicker to have better cars and a safer environment. We’ll work on that and it’s going to make the whole sport safer, which is a good thing for everybody. It’s not just about us. It’s for the whole sport. It’s hard to feel good about this because of the death that occurred and all the agony that John has gone through. John was hurt very badly. I don’t know that everyone really realizes just how extensive his injuries were, but his core body survived because of the things that we had done, based on Eric. So thank goodness we didn’t just sit around and do nothing.”

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02/05/08
automotive

GMAC posts $724 million fourth-quarter loss
GMAC Financial Services said today it swung to a loss during the fourth quarter as homeowners struggled to keep up with mortgage payments.  GMAC Financial Services lost $724 million in the fourth quarter, compared with earnings of $1 billion in the prior year period.

Residential lending division, Residential Capital LLC, lost $921 million during the quarter because of continued deterioration in the housing market. Losses skyrocketed at the division because of write-downs on credit residuals and mortgage-backed securities, restructuring charges and higher funding costs.

The decline was partially offset by $521 million in gains tied to the retirement of debt.

GMAC said it continues to review strategic alternatives for its residential lending business. Detroit News

Comment
02/05/08
nascar

Goodyear announces diversity program
Company Offers At-Track-Experiences and $40,000 in Scholarships: As the exclusive tire supplier of NASCAR's three largest series, The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company officially unveiled the Goodyear Racing and Diversity Program, an initiative the company started to provide High School students with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience the many career paths offered through the sport of NASCAR. The program, offered in six areas including Daytona Beach, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Dallas, Detroit and Dover (DE), will provide more than 60 interested minority students annually with a graduated program of at-track experiences, internships and ultimately, the opportunity to receive one of six scholarships to help continue their education. As part of the announcement, Goodyear introduced its first two race weekend internship recipients, Eboni Washington and Rodrigo "Rod" Bernal. Eboni and Rod, both seniors at Mainland High School in Daytona Beach, will work in their fields of interest with established professionals on Saturday, February 16th leading into the NASCAR Nationwide Series Race and on Sunday, February 17th leading into the 50th running of the Daytona 500. In its first year, the Goodyear Racing and Diversity program has already provided more than 60 high school students from across the country the chance to experience NASCAR first-hand and receive a behind-the-scenes look at a NASCAR race. Students participating in these events had to maintain a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA and be in good standing in their school and local community to become eligible to apply for race-weekend internships. Once selected, students are paired with one or more 'mentors' in career areas of interest to them for two, six-hour days of work. Those students who complete their race-weekend internships are then eligible to apply for one of six scholarships, including five $2,000 awards and one $30,000 scholarship to be used towards their continuing education. Over the last 50 years, Goodyear has worked to bring innovation to its racing products, which, in turn, has helped foster heightened competition on the track. Since it first began supplying tires to NASCAR, Goodyear tires have logged 1,446 Sprint Cup Series victories, and the number continues to rise. Goodyear consumer tires are inspired by the innovations and cutting-edge technology from the race track. Goodyear Racing PR

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02/05/08
cca

Herberts Rejoins Paladin Motorsports for 2008
As the Cooper Tires Presents The Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda convened for the first time in 2008 for open testing at Sebring International Raceway today, officials from Paladin Motorsports and Canadian driver Adrien Herberts announced that they have rejoined forces for the full 2008 season.

The 18-year-old native of Port Coquitlam, British Columbia will once again drive the team’s No. 45 Mazda-Cosworth/Swift 016.a/Cooper, which will carry sponsorship from Keller Williams and TravelUnlimited.ca as well as a major Canadian financial institution to be announced later.

“We’re really happy to have a chance to continue with Adrien for 2008,” said Paladin Motorsports owner Reza Honarvar. “Continuity is a key to success, so this will give us a chance to continue our development with him.”

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02/05/08
automotive

GM Invests $69 Million In Ohio Diesel Engine Plant
DAYTON, Ohio - General Motors Corp. (GM) announced today an investment of $69 million in its DMAX plant in Moraine to manufacture a new Duramax 6.6-liter V-8 turbo diesel engine that will meet stringent emissions standards in 2010. DMAX Limited is a joint venture between GM and Isuzu Motors Limited and was established as a diesel engine company in 1998.

The investment includes renovations to the plant, new machinery and tooling to support manufacturing of the new diesel engine. Renovations are expected to begin immediately. As a result of the investment, the DMAX plant will retain over 1,000 jobs.

"GM is committed to continuing to reduce fuel consumption and emissions across its portfolio and around the world. The 2010 Duramax diesel is an integral part of that transformation, as well as a component of GM's strategy to diversify vehicle energy sources," said John Buttermore, GM Powertrain vice president of global manufacturing. "This new investment demonstrates GM's commitment to continue to invest in technologies that reduce the impact of our vehicles on the environment, while maintaining performance attributes required by customers in the areas of towing and hauling loads."

Read more & Comment...
02/05/08
f1

Raikkonen blisters Bahrain
World champion Kimi Raikkonen  managed a best time of 1:30.595 to lead testing in Bahrain Tuesday.  Raikkonen's best lap was over two seconds faster than the pole position time of last year's Grand Prix.

Pos

Driver Team Time Laps
1. Raikkonen Ferrari 1:30.595 77
2. Badoer Ferrari 1:32.230 64
3. Glock Toyota 1:32.889 71
4. Trulli Toyota 1:33.379 60

Comment
02/05/08
alms

Henzler becomes Porsche works driver
Wolf Henzler from Nuertingen, Germany, will be starting the 2008 motorsports season for Dr. Ing h.c. F. Porsche AG as a factory driver.

Henzler will be at the wheel of a Flying Lizard Motorsports’ Porsche 911 GT3 RSR in the American Le Mans Series. In 2006, while driving for the Lizards and Tafel Racing, Henzler was awarded the Porsche Cup as most successful driver of a private Porsche racing car. Henzler, who holds a master’s degree in business administration and computer science, has been racing Porsche cars since 2000.

“I am very glad we have succeeded in adding additional strength to our team of works drivers by hiring Wolf Henzler.  I have been following his career for years now. I value his consistency, his experience and his basic turn of speed,” said Hartmut Kristen, Porsche’s worldwide head of motorsport.

Among other events in the 2007 season, Henzler started for the Tafel Racing Team in the American Le Mans Series, earning six podium finishes in the GT2 class, resulting in a third place championship position at the end of the year. In 2005, Henzler almost won the SPEED World Challenge series, winning two races, four pole positions, and losing out on the championship in the final laps of the final race, and he co-drove to the GT class victory at the 24 Hours of Daytona – both for Farnbacher Loles; in 2004 he dominated the Porsche Supercup, gaining nine victories in twelve races to secure the champion’s title in dominant fashion.  All these successes were achieved in Porsche 911 GT3 RSR and Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race cars.

Comment
02/05/08
track news

Approval for Silverstone upgrade
Plans to secure Silverstone's future as a Formula One circuit have received the backing of a second local authority.
The Northamptonshire circuit's facilities are due to be upgraded as part of plans to keep the British Grand Prix on the F1 race calendar.

F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone said it is the sport's worst circuit, jeopardizing the future of the British GP.

But South Northamptonshire Council's Cabinet committee has adopted the Joint Silverstone Circuit Development Brief.

Aylesbury Vale District Council previously endorsed the same blueprint.

The development brief, which has been prepared by independent consultants on behalf of South Northamptonshire Council and Aylesbury Vale, sets out plans for sustainable development of the circuit.

Read more & Comment...
02/05/08
motogp

Sepang Day 1: Rossi fastest
The MotoGP teams were back on track at Sepang today for the second pre-season test at the 5.548 km Malaysian grand prix circuit.  The teams got a late start because the track was not in good shape after the overnight rain. Nobody was in a hurry to go out. When they did they all went together and cleaned up the track a little.

Valentino Rossi picked up just where he left off at the same track 12 days ago. After several teams opted to test at Phillip Island last week, it was a somewhat depleted MotoGP field on track today.

Rossi topped the time sheets today with a blistering best lap of 2’00.300, over 0.3 seconds faster than the existing best lap of Sepang, which the Italian set himself back in 2006. Rossi set today’s time on a Bridgestone qualifying tire on his 62nd of 64 laps.

Valentino Rossi
“Today was a positive day for us and I really enjoyed myself. We started to work more on the bike and to adjust the suspension and balance to suit our tires. I have a very good feeling and the lap times have improved compared to last time, both with race tires and with the qualifying tire. It’s a big deal changing tires – not as big as changing bikes but all the same I have needed time to understand how to ride the bike differently and now I’m learning more and more how to get the best from the Bridgestones. My fitness has also improved compared to last time and this is also helping me to ride better, so I think that we’re in good shape at the moment.”

Lap Times

Pos Rider Team Time
1 Valentino Rossi Fiat Yamaha 2:00.300
2 Nicky Hayden Repsol Honda 2:01:949
3 Shinya Nakano Honda Gresini 2:02:317
4 Jorge Lorenzo Fiat Yamaha 2:02:654
5 Alex De Angelis Honda Gresini 2:03:231
6 Olivier Jacque Kawasaki Racing 2:03.655
7 Tamaki Serizawa Kawasaki Racing 2:06.874


Comment
02/05/08
racing news

Howard Gilbert dies
Very sad news to report that Indy 500 engine builder Howard Gilbert, who built winning engines for the likes of AJ Foyt and other greats, passed away this morning about 4:30am.  The funeral plans are forthcoming, but the burial will be at Rose Hills in Whittier at the internment site where his wife Rosalie is buried. As soon as we have more information we will let you know.

Comment
02/05/08
nascar

NASCAR expands media operations
The NASCAR Images and NASCAR Digital Entertainment are to merge to form the NASCAR Media Group (NMG) in a move that will consolidate the rights and interests of both groups into a single entity to develop, produce and distribute a range of programming and content for NASCAR.

Under the revised structure, NMG will be positioned to provide a range of new services to NASCAR's media partners and to develop new content platforms that will expand the reach of the sport.

Paul Brooks, president of NASCAR Media Group, said: "The development of the NASCAR Media Group will enhance our commitment to the fans and the entire industry in one integrated unit. We will continue to work aggressively with the our media partners covering NASCAR and the entertainment industry to provide the highest quality media content, and develop new opportunities to bring the most exciting elements of NASCAR directly to our fans”.

The NASCAR Media Group will be based in Charlotte, North Carolina, and will work to promote the sport in mainstream media through relationships with film, television and music industries.

Comment
02/05/08
nascar

SAFER Wall at Darlington Raceway
The infamous wall that has dashed so many Darlington dreams and caused countless "Darlington Stripes" began to take shape on Monday as crews re-assembled the outer SAFER barrier wall at Darlington Raceway.

New SAFER Barrier
Paving began at the track "Too Tough to Tame" in the mid January and with the outer groove of the track complete, construction crews are now focusing on finishing the racing surface and infield access tunnel in advance of the 2008 Dodge Challenger 500.

The new asphalt surface at Darlington Raceway is part of a $10 million dollar capital improvement project that began following the 2007 Dodge Avenger 500. In addition to the new racing surface, work is also underway to complete a new infield access tunnel large enough to accommodate race car haulers, motorcoaches and emergency vehicles.

Don’t miss your chance to see the stars of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series as they take on the track "Too Tough to Tame" in the Dodge Challenger 500 on May 10, 2008. The racing action kicks off with the USAC Silver Crown Series and the NASCAR Nationwide Series Diamond Hill Plywood 200 on May 8th and 9th, respectively. Order your tickets and Colvin Grill all-you-can-eat package now by calling 1-866-459-RACE or logging onto http://www.racetickets.com.

Comment
02/05/08
nascar

Cintas, Gillett Evernham sign sponsorship deal
Cintas Corp., a supplier of corporate uniforms and other business services, has agreed to a multiyear sponsorship deal at Gillett Evernham Motorsports beginning with the 2008 season.

Cincinnati-based Cintas will become the official uniform supplier and safety supplier for all three of GEM's teams, which gives the company associate sponsorship positioning on the Nos. 9, 10 and 19 Sprint Cup cars.

Cintas also will be a primary sponsor on Patrick Carpentier's No. 10 Dodge for the March 9 Sprint Cup race at Atlanta, marking the first time Cintas has been a primary sponsor on a Cup car, the company said.

Terms of the deal were not available.

A major component of the agreement is a business-to-business relationship with many of team owner George Gillett Jr.'s other operations, including ski resorts and car dealerships.

Cintas also has status in NASCAR as the preferred uniform and first-aid supplier, a relationship that began in 1999.

Comment
02/05/08
nascar

Ford to consolidate chassis manufacturing too
Back in the day, stock car racing was a family affair. The Chevrolet family and the Ford family got together every Sunday to see who was better, and that rivalry still exists today.

Add in Chrysler, the other GM brands, Mercury and now Toyota and you've got a long history of "factory" presence in NASCAR.

In the day of high-tech solutions, Ford is taking a bit of a step back to that earlier time by channeling development, engineering and other work into more of a factory-type of organization, even if the powers that be at Ford don't refer to it as such.

Two Ford teams, Roush Fenway Racing and Yates Racing, combined engine shops several years ago to develop a common engine program for all seven cars in its combined fleet. That move touched off similar alliances between long-standing Chevy teams, Richard Childress Racing and Dale Earnhardt Inc. in 2007.

Now there's a similar plan afoot to combine engineering on chassis.

"I don't know if it's going to be a factory [effort], it's a collaborative effort," said Dan Davis, director of Ford Racing Technology. "To me, the way the engine program worked is you had the best of what Jack [Roush] was doing, the best of what Robert Yates was doing and you combined the two. One-plus-one equaled four in that case, in my opinion.

Read more & Comment...
02/05/08
Track news

Bugatti circuit’s length change
Garage Vert corner
The Garage Vert corner on the LeMans Bugatti circuit has been completely revamped for 2008 : the run-off areas have been enlarged, a new spectator enclosure installed as well as a new spectators’ entrance only a stone’s throw from the Le Mans tramway terminus. The length of the Garage Vert corner has increased by 4.72 m and the Bugatti circuit now measures 4.185 kms.

Comment
02/05/08
f1

Latest F1 news in brief
  • Britain and Spain at war over racism row
  • UK minister to widen Spanish racism protest
  • Badoer lauds Kimi's 'great' Bahrain pace
  • Gauteng reacts to Renault deal criticism
  • F1 plays role in Versailles election

Britain and Spain at war over racism row
(GMM)  The formula one racism scandal involving Lewis Hamilton has turned into a media slanging match between Britain and Spain, as both accuse the other side of wielding the more serious prejudices.

English tabloid The Sun published photos of spectators at the Circuit de Catalunya wearing black makeup and wigs, while the Times accused the Spanish media of "overlooking" the vile incident.

"The Spanish media all but ignored the controversy over Hamilton's treatment in Barcelona," the London newspaper claimed.

But swarms of prominent Spanish newspapers roundly condemned the abuse of F1's only black driver, in step with the country's motor sports authority and the Spanish grand prix venue.

La Vanguardia called for a "zero tolerance" attitude to racist "lunatics", and El Mundo said Montmelo had been the scene of an "embarrassing spectacle" for Spain.

Britain's The Independent, however, said the incident revealed an underlying racist element to modern Spanish culture.

"It's pretty clear that they are decades behind Britain when it comes to attitudes towards race," an editorial read.

A headline in the Daily Telegraph announced that "Racism is Spanish sport", declaring that "there is something seriously wrong with their authorities who have not taught the masses that such behavior is unacceptable.

"This may be because the authorities do not see such behavior as unacceptable," it added.

A writer for Diario AS slammed the British press and said the bad behavior of a dozen Spaniards at the weekend had been reported as the work of thousands.

"Generalization is a dangerous habit, which often leads to wrong conclusions and is almost always unfair," the columnist wrote.

"Especially because an uncontrolled individual can cause tremendous prejudice against a whole group, as we are used to seeing at many sporting events."

Another AS article said the Barcelona incident had morphed into a "disproportionate snowball" in the press, and named the "English press" as having denounced Spanish sports fans as "racist because of a few isolated" wrongdoers.

Circuit de Catalunya boss Ramon Praderas also accused the media of "in some cases taking the incident out of context".

"To say we are a racist country is an exaggeration," he said.  "There were many more people who took happy photos with Hamilton.

"The history of Spanish sport is full of examples such as these and a few individuals will not spoil this for us."

Read more & Comment...
02/04/08
f1

Theissen wants further enhancements for BMW
Some five weeks prior to the start of the 2008 Formula One World Championship season, the BMW Sauber F1 Team works on further improvements for the F1.08. During the tests held this weekend at Barcelona, the Munich and Hinwil based squad again tested new modifications for the car.

"It's easy to recognize that every square centimeter of the car has been revised - resulting in brand-new solutions that haven't been seen anywhere else, to date," said BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen regarding the innovative aerodynamic and mechanic components of the F1.08. "Throughout the year, we care about making our car faster."

A successful effort: At the "Circuit de Catalunya", Robert Kubica and Nick Heidfeld delivered in convincing style by setting the fourth and sixth fastest lap time respectively, this Sunday. Further progress is supposed to be made during the next tests, held from 12th to 14th February at Jerez, Southern Spain.

"In 2007, the car surprised us with its pace right from the first day of testing - but we had reliability problems," Theissen told the German media. "This year, the car has proven to be very reliable from day one but now we will focus on its performance. We have to find half a second more than the most competitive teams. That's a major challenge. But we are - above all - ambitious." BMW Sauber

Comment
02/04/08
arca
nascar

NASCAR drivers entered in ARCA race
With 70 drivers on the entry list for the ARCA 200 at Daytona, plenty of drivers with NASCAR ties will attempt to compete in the race Saturday at Daytona International Speedway.

Teams get five hours of practice Thursday with qualifying set for Friday.

Chip Ganassi Racing's Dario Franchitti is the most high-profile NASCAR driver entered in the event as he prepares for his first full season of stock-car racing.

Among the drivers associated with Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Craftsman Truck series teams on the entry list are development drivers Scott Speed (Red Bull Racing), Ken Butler III (Michael Waltrip Racing), Michael Annett (Bill Davis Racing), Ricky Stenhouse (Roush Fenway Racing); Nationwide Series drivers Brad Baker (Baker Curb Racing), Chase Austin (Rusty Wallace Racing), Landon Cassill (JR Motorsports); and truck series driver Justin Marks (Germain Racing).

Other drivers include Sprint Cup competitors Kirk Shelmerdine and James Hylton, former Cup driver Greg Sacks, former Nationwide Series drivers Kyle Krisiloff, Mike Harmon and Blake Feese and reigning NASCAR Canadian Tire Series champion Andrew Ranger. Jeremy Clements, who drove in five races for McGill Motorsports last year and tested earlier this season for Joe Gibbs Racing, also is entered. Scenedaily.com

Comment
02/04/08
cc

Conquest Racing shines atop the charts in Sebring
SEBRING, Florida (February 4, 2008) – Conquest Racing completed their first Champ Car pre-season test of 2008 today by showing their intentions for the upcoming season. The team topped the open test with driver Franck Perera and showed good pace with Simon Pagenaud. 

The Conquest Team is heading into a new direction this year with many new team members, including talented engineer Eric Zeto, and a core group that remains intact, with Team Manager Chris Mower , long-time engineer Don Bricker and others, the sixth year team has every intention of contending for the win, week in and week out. The Sebring test is only the beginning and a reflection of their potential as things got off to a very good start.

It was only his fifth day driving a Champ Car but Atlantic standout Franck Perera seemed to have been doing it all his life. The 2007 Atlantic ‘Rookie of the Year’ posted the fastest lap over the three days of testing, beating out the 13 other drivers present in Sebring.

“It’s been great!” exclaimed ‘Fearless Franck’. “Everything is new right now, a new season, a new team, a new track but we did a pretty good three days. It was not easy because we had a short time to prepare everything but I think this is a very strong team with very talented and experienced people. We progressed well, it was like a crescendo, each session we were faster. We tested many things for each phase of a race weekend and we were pretty fast in all of them. It’s good to show that we can already fight with the top guys but there is still more work and preparation to be done before the start of the season.”

On the first day of testing in Sebring, Perera had already posted the fourth fastest time of the day with a lap of 50.986 seconds. The Frenchman continued his progression on day two of the open test remaining in fourth overall but improving his time to 50.495 seconds. The final day is when it all came together and he posted early on a lap of 49.806 that kept him at the top of the timing sheets when the checkered flag fell on the first Champ Car open test of the season.

Read more & Comment...
02/04/08
lmes

LeMans series announces race in Shanghai
After the United States and Europe the Automobile Club de l’Ouest breaks new ground with the organization of its first race in China.
 
The Automobile Club de l’Ouest has taken the decision to organize a new 1000 km endurance event under the Le Mans banner. It will take place on the Shanghai International Circuit in China on 1st and 2nd November 2008.

To make it happen the ACO has called upon the combined forces of entrants faithful to the Le Mans Series in Europe and the American Le Mans Series in the USA. Furthermore, Chinese partners and sponsors are directly involved in this project, which has already obtained the backing of major international motorcar manufacturers.

The size of the marketing budget and television coverage will make it one of the blue ribbon events of the 2008 motor racing season.

The Shanghai 1000 Kms prefigures the Asian Le Mans Series, which, in 2009, will include at least two events, one in China and one in Japan.

Entrants making this trip to Asia will be richly rewarded as the winners of the LM P1, LM P2, LM GT1 and LM GT2 categories will receive an automatic invitation for the 2009 Le Mans 24 Hours.

Comment
02/04/08
nascar

Gillett Evernham Motorsports names team CEO
Gillett Evernham Motorsports has announced the appointment of Tom Reddin as its new chief executive officer overseeing the team's three NASCAR Sprint Cup teams and its single Nationwide team.

Reddin's business background combines experience in consumer packaged goods, e-commerce and technology experience gained at Kraft Foods, CBS, Coca-Cola and LendingTree where he ultimately served as chief executive officer.

Reddin was an early stage member of the LendingTree start-up, joining the company from Coca-Cola in 1999, launching the "When Banks Compete, You Win" ad campaign and helping to guide the company from a small private company to a public company with more than $400 million in revenue and 2000 employees. The company was ultimately sold to IAC/Interactive Corp.

"This is another step in our plan toward build a winning organization," said co-owner Ray Evernham. "Tom is a world-class business executive who brings a wealth of experience to Gillett Evernham Motorsports.

His management style will enable this organization to maximize its production off the track so the competition side has the resources to win races and contend for championships."

Reddin sees a transformation in NASCAR and thinks he can help this team keep up with that.

"NASCAR is changing," he said in a news release. "These race teams now are top-flight businesses that have to be as good off the track in the business community as they are on the track. I have grown and built businesses my entire career. To succeed in this sport in the coming years, you are going to have to have a business plan that provides a major win for your business partners, your drivers and your employees. Success will center on people, process and technology. You have to excel in all three dimensions."

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02/04/08
track news

Tourist crashes, dies at Daytona UPDATE Robert Powell, a 60 year-old man from Apopka, FL passed away yesterday while participating in the Richard Petty Driving Experience at Daytona International Speedway. The man, who was driving in the “High Banks 8” session at the 2.5 mile superspeedway, was on lap 4 of his 8 scheduled laps when the incident took place.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to this man’s family and friends and we truly regret this incident took place,” said Chris McKee, Media Relations Director for RPDE. “I have spoken with Mr. Boswell’s son and he was just happy that his dad was living out his dream of getting to drive a real race car.”

The Halifax Medical Examiner’s report shows the Boswell passed away of a heart attack and not from any mechanical issue with the car. Richard Petty Driving Experience PR

02/04/08 A 60-year-old man crashed and died while driving at the Daytona Beach International Speedway as part of the Richard Petty Driving Experience, authorities and family members said today. Robert Boswell was taking part in the Richard Petty Driving Experience, a program where fans pay to get behind the wheel of a NASCAR car, said his son Greg Boswell. The crash occurred about 5 p.m. Sunday, police said. Bowden was taken to Halifax Health Medical Center where he was declared dead at 7pm/et. "He was driving at the time he died," Greg Boswell said. Police released Boswell's name, but they are not commenting on the investigation because it is still active, said Daytona Beach police spokesman Jimmie Flynt. Daytona Beach News Journal

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02/04/08
nascar

Hornishs welcome first child
Sam Hornish Jr. and wife Crystal welcomed their first child this morning. Addison Faith Hornish was born at 6:24 a.m. on Monday, February 4th. Baby Addison weighs 7lbs 2oz. and measures 18 inches. Both mom and baby are doing well. Penske Racing

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02/04/08
cc

Viso settles in with Minardi at Sebring
Ernesto Viso
Ernesto Viso and the Minardi Team USA squad wrapped up their final half-day of testing in Sebring, Florida today after spending the past two days at the popular facility for the first of three Champ Car World Series pre-season tests.

Viso initially worked with the team at Sebring International Raceway in early December last year, and used this opportunity to continue going through a clearly defined technical program, aimed at helping both team and driver improve. They took the opportunity to try a variety of set-up changes, and continued to acclimatize Ernesto to the DP01 as well as to his engineers and crew.

All involved felt it was a productive test, and next up for Minardi Team USA is Spring Training at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca March 13-14.

Ernesto Viso:
“Testing was very successful, we went through a lot of things over the course of the 2 ½ days. We worked through different suspension packages, and we now know where we are at and what we need to improve. We were a bit stuck on Saturday, working on the differential which takes time, and this morning we had the engine let go, otherwise I would be further up the charts. We are not worried about it at all, everybody is happy and we know we have the potential and we are going to be up there.”

Keith Wiggins:
“We accomplished a good amount. We worked through our testing plan and made progress. We had a few hiccups, which delayed us a bit, one of which occurred this morning (Monday) when we had an engine failure just as we were planning on laying down some quick times. Things did not go as smoothly as we would have liked, but that’s what testing is all about: learning things. We additionally developed our relationship with Ernesto and continue to believe he will do a good job. It’s on to the next one at Laguna now.”

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02/04/08
cc

Perera storms Sebring UPDATE Test times from today and cumulative times over 3 days have been added below.

02/04/08
Franck Perera

Former Atlantic series runner-up Franck Perera set the fastest lap time of the 2.5-day Champ Car test in Sebring turning a lap of 49.806 on Monday morning while driving a Conquest Racing entry. 

This was the first time a Champ Car broke into the 49 second barrier since the days of 900-plus HP. 

Monday Morning Times

Pos Car Driver              Hometown              Team                Best Time
1 24 Franck Perera (R) Montpellier, France Conquest Racing 49.806
2 2 Graham Rahal Hilliard, Ohio Newman Haas Lanigan Racing 49.950
3 21 Alex Tagliani Las Vegas, Nevada PKV Racing 50.173
4 22 Oriol Servia Miami, Florida PKV Racing 50.178
5 1 Justin Wilson Denver, Colorado Newman Haas Lanigan Racing 50.207
6 19 Bruno Junqueira Miami, Florida Dale Coyne Racing 50.507
7 29 Alex Figge Denver, Colorado Pacific Coast Motorsports 50.521
8 34 Simon Pagenaud Indianapolis, Indiana Conquest Racing 50.702
9 8 Enrique Bernoldi (R) Curitiba, Brazil Rocketsports Racing 50.714
10 3 Paul Tracy Las Vegas, Nevada Forsythe Pettit Racing 50.732
11 28 David Martinez (R) Monterrey, Mexico Pacific Coast Motorsports 50.736
12 4 Ernesto Viso (R) Caracas, Venezuela Minardi Team USA 50.800
13 11 Mario Moraes (R) Sao Paolo, Brazil Dale Coyne Racing 50.930
14 7 Franck Montagny (R) Grand Vaux, Switzerland Forsythe Pettit Racing 50.932

3-Day Cumulative Times

Pos Car Driver              Hometown              Team                  Best Time
1 24 Franck Perera (R) Montpellier, France Conquest Racing 49.806
2 2 Graham Rahal Hilliard, Ohio Newman Haas Lanigan Racing 49.950
3 21 Alex Tagliani Las Vegas, Nevada PKV Racing 50.173
4 22 Oriol Servia Miami, Florida PKV Racing 50.178
5 1 Justin Wilson Denver, Colorado Newman Haas Lanigan Racing 50.207
6 7 Franck Montagny (R) Grand Vaux, Switzerland Forsythe Pettit Racing 50.209
7 19 Bruno Junqueira Miami, Florida Dale Coyne Racing 50.507
8 29 Alex Figge Denver, Colorado Pacific Coast Motorsports 50.521
9 34 Simon Pagenaud Indianapolis, Indiana Conquest Racing 50.702
10 8 Enrique Bernoldi (R) Curitiba, Brazil Rocketsports Racing 50.714
11 3 Paul Tracy Las Vegas, Nevada Forsythe Pettit Racing 50.732
12 28 David Martinez (R) Monterrey, Mexico Pacific Coast Motorsports 50.736
13 4 Ernesto Viso (R) Caracas, Venezuela Minardi Team USA 50.800
14 11 Mario Moraes (R) Sao Paolo, Brazil Dale Coyne Racing 50.930

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02/04/08
irl
ips
cc

IRL names Cotman VP of Competition
The Indy Racing League, the sanctioning body for the IndyCar Series and Indy Pro Series, has named Tony Cotman Vice President of Competition. The announcement was made by Brian Barnhart, president of the competition and operations division.

Cotman, who started in his new position on Feb. 4, will assist Barnhart in Race Control for all IndyCar Series events and act as the senior race official for all Indy Pro Series events.

"We're very pleased to have someone of Tony's caliber join our staff," Barnhart said. "Tony has earned the respect of everyone in Indy car racing by being hard working, intelligent and fair. The addition of Tony enhances our competition and race operations efforts and he will be working closely with Les Mactaggart, Kevin Blanch, Jeff Horton and I in all aspects of IndyCar Series competition and with Roger Bailey and Butch Meyer in the Indy Pro Series."

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02/04/08
cc

Rahal 2nd, Wilson 5th at Sebring
Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing drivers Graham Rahal and Justin Wilson completed the first of three open tests prior to the start of the 2008 Champ Car World Series after two-and-one-half days of running on the 1.669-mile course at Sebring International Raceway.  A full day of testing took place on Saturday and Sunday and the test concluded at 12 noon ET today, all during warm, sunny conditions.

Graham Rahal was one of only two drivers to break into the 49 second barrier
At the end of testing on Saturday, Wilson and Rahal were third and sixth fastest, respectively, of 14 cars while on Sunday they were second and third respectively.  Rookie Franck Montagny, who was driving for Forsythe Pettit Racing, set the fastest lap times both days.  During the four hours of testing on Monday most drivers improved their lap times and Rahal ended the test second fastest overall with a lap time of 49.950 while Wilson set the fifth fastest time of the test with a lap of 50.207.  Former Atlantic series runner-up Franck Perera set the fastest lap time of the test at 49.806 on Monday while driving a Conquest Racing entry.

“I certainly didn’t expect to be as far up (on the time sheets) as we are but I’m definitely happy about it,” said Rahal who ran a total of 238 laps during the test.  “I tend to struggle at this track specifically.  As a team we made a lot of leaps forward in car development and we’ve got a good idea of what we need to accomplish in the next tests and during the season.  Justin and I certainly work well together.  We like similar car setups which helps a lot.”

“I’m very pleased with the way the test has gone,” added Wilson, who ran approximately 269 laps over the 2.5 days.  “The team has worked hard to make me comfortable in the car and it feels good.  I’m not sure how relevant the results of this test in Sebring will be but we learned some things to build on.  We did well here and stayed disciplined and hopefully learned some things that will help us be competitive this season.  I’m looking forward to building on our program at the next test at Laguna Seca.”

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02/04/08
f1

Barcelona circuit issues press release
During the Barcelona test session this weekend, Lewis Hamilton was abused by the public and according to the Spanish newspaper 'Marca', the insults had a racial element. The Circuit de Catalunya wishes to explain its position regarding the actions of a minority of spectators on Friday, February 1st during the test session of Formula One teams:

1.- The total number of spectators during the three days of the event was 55,000 fans with a general attitude of respectful and excellent behavior during the whole session. The Circuit de Catalunya particularly wants to thank the majority of fans for their attitude, and kindly seeks public recognition of this.

2.- We strongly support the FIA’s position with regards to fighting against all racial, political or religious discrimination in motor sport.

3.- The Circuit de Catalunya will not allow even the smallest incident to repeat itself within its facilities, and new measures are currently being taken into consideration in addition to those implemented during the latest sessions. These measures have been studied with the support of the Catalan Police and the Circuit’s security services, and they will be reinforced in the upcoming tests sessions and at the Gran Premio de España Telef¢nica de Formula One.

4.- That the Gran Premio de España Telef¢nica de Formula One represents the image of a country in the world and the Circuit de Catalunya will not accept any abuse of this image through racist attitudes or attacks on sporting competitions. The Circuit requests the Grand Prix to be the genuine meeting point for all the different supporters of drivers and teams in our sport. Especially to represent the welcome and sporting values of our country and our national sponsor.

5.- In case of sanctions, the Circuit de Catalunya may consider the possibility of taking legal actions against those who caused the incidents, regardless of the magnitude.

6.- The Circuit de Catalunya will officially state its position to the FIA, the Real Federaci¢n Española de Automovilismo (Spanish Motorsports Federation) and the rest of circuits in Spain, with special interest for those who also host Formula One tests.

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02/04/08
f1

Bahrain Day 1: Raikkonen fastest
On the first day of testing at the Bahrain International Circuit, Kimi Raikkonen clocked the fastest time of the day. Raikkonen was faster than Ferrari test driver Luca Badoer and Toyota drivers Timo Glock and Kamui Kobayashi. Testing will continue at Sakhir tomorrow.

Results

1. Raikkonen Ferrari 1:32.079
2. Badoer Ferrari 1:33.323
3. Glock Toyota 1:33.418
4. Kobayashi Toyota 1:33.656


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02/04/08
f1

Spain condemns Hamilton racism incident
(GMM)  Spain's motor racing federation (RFEA), and the Circuit de Catalunya near Barcelona, have condemned the racist abuse of Lewis Hamilton by spectators at the formula one test at the weekend.

The statements come after the sport's governing FIA warned of possible sanctions, including threats to the status of Spain's two grands prix, at Barcelona and the port city, Valencia.

"The Federation wants to show its absolute repulse at these incomprehensible events," an excerpt from the RFEA's statement on Monday read.

"These kind of madmen who confuse sporting rivalry with violence must know that the Federation will have no tolerance with them," it added.

The Circuit de Catalunya in Montmelo, meanwhile, said it also backs the FIA's position against discrimination of all sorts, and vowed to lodge an official report with the governing body as requested.

"The Circuit de Catalunya will not allow even the smallest incident to repeat itself within its facilities, and new measures are currently being taken into consideration in addition to those implemented during the latest sessions," the Spanish grand prix host said, also refusing to rule out taking legal action against those who perpetrated the abuse.

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02/04/08
tv news

Motorsports This Week on ESPN and ABC
Dale Jr. – Shifting Gears Premieres Friday on ESPN2

The new television series Dale Jr. – Shifting Gears, chronicling the move of Dale Earnhardt Jr. to Hendrick Motorsports in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, premieres Friday, Feb. 8, at 7 p.m. on ESPN2.

The five-part series provides viewers with a behind-the-scenes look at the personal, corporate and competitive ramifications involved with the five-time NASCAR Most Popular Driver award recipient leaving Dale Earnhardt, Inc., the team founded by his late father. Dale Jr. – Shifting Gears is produced by Earnhardt Jr.’s Hammerhead Entertainment, a division of JR Motorsports, in cooperation with Hendrick Motorsports and is presented by the National Guard.

Three of the five episodes of Dale Jr. - Shifting Gears air on ESPN2 in the nine days prior to the Daytona 500, including following ESPN2’s live coverage of NASCAR Nationwide Series qualifying on Friday, Feb. 15, and the NASCAR Nationwide Series Camping World 300 at Daytona on Saturday, Feb. 16. The final two episodes air on ESPN in prime time the week of the July 27 Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, ESPN’s first live NASCAR Sprint Cup event of the season.

Live Coverage of NASCAR Media Day Thursday on ESPNEWS

ESPNEWS will surround NASCAR Media Day at Daytona International Speedway with a special three-hour live program featuring exclusive interviews with some of NASCAR’s top drivers as well as analysis. The program airs Thursday, Feb. 7, at noon ET.

NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson and NASCAR Nationwide Series champion Carl Edwards are among the drivers scheduled to be interviewed from Daytona on the program, along with others such as Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Tony Stewart, Jeff Burton, Juan Pablo Montoya, Dario Franchitti and more.

NASCAR on ESPN pit reporter Mike Massaro and NASCAR Now host Ryan Burr will anchor the program from ESPN’s studios, while 1989 NASCAR Cup champion and ESPN analyst Rusty Wallace and NASCAR Now host Nicole Manske will be in Daytona.

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02/04/08
f1

Sato hopes for Aguri track return soon
Takuma Sato
(GMM) Super Aguri may soon be back in action at pre-season test circuits, the team's Japanese driver Takuma Sato suggested on Monday.

The 31-year-old told his official website that although the small Honda-powered squad has been grappling with "financial difficulties", it is scheduled that Super Aguri will be in action for the first time in 2008 at Jerez early next week.

The report said Super Aguri has not tested so far this season while the team "looks to sew up its financial deals for the coming year", but that work on an "updated car" for 2008 is still taking place.

"It has been a tough winter for the team because of the financial difficulties," Sato said, explaining that Super Aguri's participation in the recent Valencia test was cancelled at the last moment.

Admitting frustration with the situation, he added: "Next week we'll go to Jerez and then after that we should have two consecutive three-day tests at Barcelona, so that will be a total of nine days' testing.

"We'll be using an interim car to start with, and we probably won't have the fully updated car until the last Barcelona test. Then I hope we can bring along the whole new package to Melbourne for the first race," Sato said.

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02/04/08
f1

FIA demands report over Hamilton abuse
(GMM) F1's governing body has demanded an explanation from its Spanish counterparts after Lewis Hamilton was racially taunted at the recent Barcelona test.

Publications on Monday reported that Spain's motor racing federation, the RFEA, has been instructed to produce a full report into the events at Circuit de Catalunya, where Hamilton and his McLaren team were treated as hate figures by a large partisan crowd.

The reports cited sources close to the FIA as warning that Spain risks losing its grands prix, at Barcelona and on the streets of Valencia, if the federation cannot contain further instances of racial abuse, including vocal taunts and banners.

British news agency Reuters quotes a spokesman for the Paris body as saying it has written to the RFEA to "know what measures were put in place to deal with the incidents and what will be put in place to ensure there is no repetition of such abuse in the future".

23-year-old Hamilton on Monday said he was "sad" about the controversy, explaining that the experience of testing at Montmelo last weekend was "not pleasant".

"The only thing that I have done is to try to give the best of myself and try to win the championship, at no point have I tried to deliberately prejudice Fernando (Alonso), but the fight has been very tough and my image in Spain has been severely damaged," he told sportlifepress.com.

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02/04/08
Skip Barber

Skip Barber Scholarship winners
15-year old Conner De Phillippi
SEBRING, Fla. – Scholarship sponsorship worth approximately $130,000 was awarded to five young karters at the 11th annual Skip Barber Karting Scholarship Shoot-out following three days of on- and off-track assessment at Sebring International Raceway driving the Skip Barber Formula 2000 open-wheelers. Winning the biggest prize – a fully paid 14-race season in the BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda – was Conner De Phillippi, 15, of San Clemente, Calif. De Phillippi bested 50 of some of karting’s best drivers looking to jumpstart their careers using the MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development ladder system. De Phillippi’s paid ride in the 2008 Skip Barber National comes courtesy of Mazda and MAZDASPEED.

De Phillippi’s award is worth approximately $45,000 – seven double-race National weekends and their associated practice, qualifying and warm-up sessions. The Skip Barber National is the leading pro development series, an early step on the Mazda-driven motorsports ladder system that includes the Star Mazda Series and Champ Car Atlantic Powered by Mazda. The Skip Barber National champion wins one of the largest title bonuses in entry level pro racing: a paid ride in the following year’s Star Mazda series, worth on the order of $350,000.

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02/04/08
Racing News

Mickey Thompson special to air UPDATE #2 Also, The time is as we reported, 10pm ET, but it's on at 7pm and 11pm PT.

02/04/08 A reminder that this program will be shown tonight at 10:00 pm - 11:00 pm ET with a replay on Tuesday, February 5, 2:00 am - 3:00 am ET.  Please check your local listings for your time zone.

02/02/08 There will be a program on Mickey Thompson which will be shown on "TruTV".  (TruTV was formerly known as "Court TV"). TruTV is cable/dish broadcast only and may not be available in all parts of the country. The web site for TruTV is "www.trutv.com".

The show is part of a new series that is called Murder by the Book and the Mickey Thompson segment airs Monday Feb 4th at 10pm eastern and pacific times.

This is the description given for the show: “Best-selling author and executive producer Nick Santora recounts the chilling story of how racing legend Mickey Thompson and his wife Trudy were gunned down in the driveway of their L.A. County, CA home in 1988. A twenty-year investigation took detectives, prosecutors and family members through a menagerie of dead ends, false leads and zero evidence linking anyone to the crime, until all fingers eventually pointed at Thompson's old business partner, and millionaire entrepreneur Michael Goodwin. TV-14. ”

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02/04/08
f1

Race abuse of F1 star Hamilton
Spectators shouted racist abuse at Lewis Hamilton as the British Formula One driver took part in a pre-season test in Spain.

Hamilton, 23, was jeered and insulted when he moved between the McLaren motor home and the team's garage at the Circuit de Catalunya, in Montmelo, near Barcelona.

Formula One's governing body, the FIA, has now warned that any repeat of the abuse will result in action.

Reports suggest the FIA may even consider stripping the Circuit de Catalunya of its Grand Prix.

According to reports in the Spanish press, circuit director Ramon Pradera instructed staff to erect barriers around the team's paddock because of fears for Hamilton's safety.

Banners were removed and the stands directly above McLaren's garage were cleared of spectators to ensure that no debris could be thrown down when the car returned to the pit lane.

"We would like to make a plea to the fans to behave correctly," Mr. Pradera said. "No type of offensive behavior can be tolerated."

A spokesman for the FIA said: "The FIA is surprised and disappointed at the abuse directed at Lewis Hamilton.

"An act of this kind is a clear breach of the principles enshrined in the FIA statutes and any repetition will result in sanctions." Metro.co.uk

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02/04/08
nascar

Junior Johnson to Drive Corvette Z06 Pace Car
Former Daytona 500 champion Junior Johnson, who claimed 50 NASCAR victories including the 1960 edition of "The Great American Race," will be behind the wheel of a 2008 Corvette Z06 as he paces the field before the start of the historic 50th running of the Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 17 at Daytona International Speedway. Inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1990 and named one of NASCAR's 50 Greatest Drivers in 1998, the North Carolina native claimed his Daytona 500 victory in only his second season in NASCAR competition. That memorable win was behind the wheel of the #27 John Masoni Daytona Kennel Club Chevrolet Impala. Johnson joins past drivers who have paced "The Great American Race" including Baseball "Iron Man" Cal Ripken Jr., Actor Ben Affleck and Tonight Show host Jay Leno. This is the 37th consecutive year that General Motors has provided the Daytona 500 with the Official Pace Vehicle, and the fifth year running that Chevrolet has chosen Corvette for the job. The '08 Corvette Z06 will be decked out in "anniversary gold" in honor of the occasion, making it one of Chevy's most uniquely designed pace cars. Race tickets for the DIRECTV Speedweeks 2008 events are still available by calling 1-800-PITSHOP. DIS PR

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02/04/08
f1

Yamamoto joins Renault as test driver
Sakon Yamamoto
The ING Renault F1 Team is delighted to announce the arrival of Sakon Yamamoto in the role of test development driver for the 2008 season. The 25 year-old from Japan has made 14 Grand Prix starts so far in his career, with Super Aguri and Spyker. His best finish was P12 in last year's rain-soaked Japanese Grand Prix at Fuji Speedway.
Sakon will conduct test development work for the team, as well as playing an important role in the Renault F1 Roadshow program.

ING Renault F1 Team Managing Director Flavio Briatore commented: "We are delighted to welcome Sakon to the team for 2008. We plan a particularly aggressive development program for the coming year, and his F1 experience will be useful to us in this context. Furthermore, the ING Renault F1 Team is one of the most active in promoting Formula 1 around the world thanks to our unique Roadshow program, and Sakon will boost our visibility in important markets. He will be an important asset for the team."

Sakon Yamamoto added: "I am very excited to join the ING Renault F1 Team for the 2008 season. It is a great honor for me to be associated with a team that has won world championships. I will learn a fantastic amount, and I look forward to contributing in every way the team asks of me."

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02/04/08
f1

Ferrari and Toyota start testing at Bahrain
Although eight of the eleven Formula One teams rounded-up their three-day test session at Barcelona yesterday, another pre-season test is scheduled this week. Ferrari and Toyota will come in action today at the Bahrain International Circuit at Sakhir for a three-day test. A new test session at Bahrain is scheduled from 9-11 February.

Comment
02/04/08
f1

Latest F1 news in brief
  • Honda accepts slow start for 2008 car
  • Williams return to Grove with wing problem
  • FIA warns Spain after Hamilton abuse
  • New McLaren passes crash tests
  • Sainz Jr to drive for Schu's go-kart team

Honda accepts slow start for 2008 car
(GMM)  Leading figures of the formula one team Honda admit that their challenger for the 2008 season, the newly launched RA108, is not performing strongly in its initial testing phase.

The white and green single seater, albeit reliable, spent the entire weekend at Circuit de Catalunya among the slowest test runners.

"The car is completely new which means we are starting from zero in terms of developing the setup," British driver Jenson Button said in a statement provided by he Japanese team.

"We are also experiencing some drivability issues as we work with the new ECU," he added.

The Brackley based squad's test boss Steve Clark said he is hopeful that the performance of the car will improve in the weeks before Melbourne, the opening race of 2008.

"The RA108 is so different aerodynamically to its predecessor that it is going to take some time over the next few tests to optimize the chassis settings," he said.

Clark acknowledged Honda's unimpressive showing on the Barcelona time sheets, "especially on single fast laps, although our long run consistency is a little better", he added.

F1's next three-day group test will be held at Jerez from 12 February.

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02/04/08
cca

Morad to join 2008 Champ Car Atlantic Championship
Daniel Morad
Indianapolis, Indiana - Fresh off a record-setting season that saw him crowned the 2007 Formula BMW USA Champion, seventeen-year-old Daniel Morad is making the move to the COOPER TIRE PRESENTS THE CHAMP CAR ATLANTIC CHAMPIONSHIP POWERED BY MAZDA for 2008. Daniel will once again join forces with Eurointernational, the team which would guide the young Canadian to the 2007 Formula BMW USA Championship. Daniel will be testing with the team at the first official practice in Sebring, Florida on February 5th.

At seventeen, Daniel will be the youngest rookie in the series this year and he is looking forward to the challenge. "We had a lot to consider about where we would race in 2008" Daniel said, "and everything started to fall into place over the past few weeks." He continued, "Once we could finalize plans to race again in North America, getting back under the Eurointernational tent was our target." Eurointernational's team principal Antonio Ferrari announced back in December they would field at least one car in the Champ Car Atlantic Championship for 2008. "Eurointernational did a fantastic job for us in winning the championship last season so what better choice to make the move up the ladder. We are very happy to be in the Champ Car Atlantic Championship and we look forward to a successful run in 2008."

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